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Full text of "Further notes on Avestan geography (2005)"

RANICA 8 



anguages of Iran: 
Past and Present 

Iraaian Studies 

in memoriam 

David Neil MacKensie 

Edited by 
Dieter Weber 



arrassowitz Verlag 



IRANICA 



Herausgegeben von Maria Macuch 



Band 8 



2005 



Harrassowitz Verlag • Wiesbaden 



Languages of Iran: 
Past and Present 

Iranian Studies 

in memoriam 

David Neil MacKenzie 

Edited by 
Dieter Weber 



..— : •:•; 2005 

Harrassowitz Verlag • Wiesbaden 



LP-G.& 



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David Neil MacKexzie 

on occasion of his 
75th birthdav 



Contents 

Foreword vn 

D. Durkin-Meisterernst: D.N. MacKenzie, 8. April 1926 - 13. Oktober 2001 ix 

D.N. MacKenzie: Publications xm 

C.G. Cereti 

Some Notes on the Skand Gumdnlg Wizdr 1 

I. COLDITZ 

Zur Adaption zoroastrischer Terminologie in Manis Sdbubragdn 17 

A. Degener 

The significance of the date palm 27 

Ph. Gignoux 

A propos de l'anthroponymie religieuse d'epoque sassanide 35 

Gh. Gnoli 

Further notes on Avestan geography 43 

Ph. Huyse 

Ein erneuter Datierungsversuch fur den Ubergang vom Schlul?-y der 

mittelpersischen Inschriften zum Endstrich im Buchpahlavi (6.-7. Jh.) 51 

Ph. Kreyenbroek 

Yezidism and its Sacred Literature: Eastern and Western Perceptions 69 

G. Lazard 

Structures d'actances dans les langues irano-aryennes modernes 81 

M. Macuch 

Language and Law: Linguistic Peculiarities in Sasanian Jurisprudence 95 

B. Meisterernst and D. Meisterernst-Durkin 

Some remarks on the Chinese and Sogdian SCE 109 

A. Panaino 

The "Rook" and the "Queen": 

Some Lexicographic Remarks about the Sasanian Chess Pieces 129 

L. Paul 

The language of the Sdkndme in historical and dialectical perspective 141 

Ch. Reck 

Reste einer soghdischen Version von Huyadagmdn I in der Form 

eines Responsoriums zwischen Erwahltem und Horer 153 

M. Schwartz 

On Khwarezmian Loss of—./?- 165 



Sh. Shared 

Iranian words retrieved from Aramaic 167 

D. Shapira 

Pahlavi Flowers 1 77 

N. Sims-Williams and Fr. de Blois 

The Bactrian calendar: new material and new suggestions 185 

P. O. Srl*rv0 

Avestica III. Notes on the Avestan Locative Singular 197 

W. SUNDERMANN 

Die Damonin Pesus 207 

F. Thiesen 

Eleven Etymologies 213 

D. Weber 

Kleine Nachlese zu einigen Pahlavi-Ostraka 217 

A. Wendtland 

Einige Bemerkungen zu den soghdischen Alten Briefen 229 

I. Yakubovich and Y. Yoshida 

The Sogdian fragments of Samghdtasutra in the German Turfan Collection .... 239 

E. Yarshater 

The Tati dialect of Kalasur 269 

P. Zieme 

Arabische und neupersische Worter in den altuigurischen Texten 

von Turfan und Dunhuang 285 

Indices 297 



Foreword 



When Prof. D.N. MacKenzie celebrated his 75th birthday at his favourate Greek 
restaurant in Gottingen none of his friends and colleagues would have thought of his 
untimely death some months later. It was a great shock to all who knew him and who 
had the great opportunity to work with him. Immediately a plan arose to honour this 
outstanding man by a collection of various contributions to be presented in a Volume as 
a token of gratitude for what he had given as a teacher, as a colleague or simply as friend. 

When the plan was introduced to the audience of the Collegium Turfanicum which 
was held at the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissensckaften in Berlin on 3 April 
2002 (Zum Gedenken an D. N. Mackenzie) it was welcomed in a very positive way. Now 
the Volume can be presented to the public under the title "Languages of Iran: Past & 
Present", an appropriate title in my mind that will show the wide range of studies of 
Prof. D.N. MacKenzie including not only Iranian languages proper but also their 
contact with neighbouring non-Iranian cultural groupings such as Chinese or Turkish 
though Iranian and particularly Middle Iranian studies are standing in its focus. 

That this Volume can appear in an adequate form is the result of many favourable 
coincidences. I am very indebted to all contributors who made, with their engagement in 
things Iranian, this Volume possible. For generous financial support I have to thank the 
Council of the Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum (London) and the Institut fur Iranistik of 
the Freie Universitat Berlin. I am grateful to Dr. Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst (Berlin- 
Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissensckaften — Turfanforscbung) who willingly 
consented to have his speech of the Collegium Turfanicum of 3 April 2002 printed as a 
kind of introduction to this book as well as for checking the English, to Claudius 
Naumann (Institut fur Iranistik of the Freie Universitat Berlin) for various technical 
support, and last but not least to Prof. Maria Macuch who accepted the book to be 
published in the series "Iranica" of which she is the editor. Furthermore, I am indebted 
to Prof. Nicholas Sims-Williams [School of Oriental and African Sudies, University of 
London) and again to Dr. Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst for remarks and comments 
improving the Bibliography of Prof. D. N. MacKenzie, 

Though all contributions have been adjusted to a common lay-out they still reflect 
the personal character of each contributor who, of course, are responsible themselves for 
ideas or interpretations put forward in their articles. 



Moringen, Summer 2005 Dieter Weber 



Further Notes on Avestan Geography 

Gherardo Gnoli 
Rome 

The great scholar to whom this collection is dedicated made an important contribution 
to Avestan geographical studies, in which he precisely and skilfully compared the socailed 
Khwarezmian hypothesis oFv7. B. Henning with the 'Sistanic' hypothesis of the present 
author and emphasized the points they had in common. I am referring to the lecture he 
gave in Rome on 25 March 1988, the text of which was published that same year. 
However, because of its prevalently linguistic interest, the historical geography content 
of this contribution escaped wide attention, although I did mention it in an article 
published in the papers published in his honour in 1991." 

Central to the issue he dealt with was not only the relationship between 
Khwarezmian and Avestan, to which Henning had cautiously and realistically drawn 
attention/ but also the theory of an alleged identity of Airyana Vaejah with Khwarezm, 
while it was supported with several arguments by J. Maricr'art,"' H. W. Bailey 1 and E. 
Benveniste, as well as, although in an extremely particular fashion, by Henning 
himself' I shall not dwell on the arguments advanced by Markwart, Bailey and 
Benveniste, which I have discussed at length in other articles/ but rather on those of 
Henning, which now, many years later and after the revision of my position on the date 
of Zoroaster, deserves further, more detailed attention. 

In the third of his Ratanbai Kacrak lectures delivered at Oxford in 1949, Henning, 
after claiming that "The Avesta places them Zoroaster and his protector Kavi Vistispa] 
in a country vaguely named Airyansm Vaeio", is widely known to have claimed that 
"'Both the Avesta and the later Zoroastrian tradition assure us that this Airyansm Vaejo 
was Khwarezm.'" This claim was, in all likelihood, based precisely on the above- 
mentioned studies of Markwart, Bailey and Benveniste.' 1 In Hennings view, 

1 MacKenzie1988: 81-92. 

2 Gnoli 1991:74-78. 

3 In particular, sec Henning 1951, 44-45- 

4 J. Marquart, Eransabr nach der Geographic da Ps. Moses Xorenaci, Berlin 1901, p. 155. 

5 H.W. Bailey, "'Iranian Studies I"", pp. 945-953 in: Builetm of the School of Oriental Studies, 6, 
1930-1932, 945-955; Id., "Iranian Scudies IV. up. 764-^68 in: ibid., 7, 1933-1935, 755-758. 

6 Benveniste 1933-1935, 265-274. 

7 Henning 1951: 42-43, and see below. 

8 In addition to Gnoli 1991, sec Id., "Ain-o-sayana", Rivisza degli Saidi Orientali, 41, 1966, 67-75; 
"Apiavij. Posrilla ad AiryoJayanj" ', Rivista degiiSrudi Onentali. 4l, 1966, 329-334; Gnoli 1967, 
81-101: "Zur Sistan-Hypothese", Monumenntm H.S. Xyberg, voLl. Acta Iranica 4, Teheran — Liege 
1975, 277-290; "More on the Sistanic hypothesis". East^jd West. 27, 1977, 309-321; Gnoli 1980: 
91-127; Gnoli 1985, 15-30: Gnoli 1987: 44-47; Gnoli 1989: 29-70; Gnoli 1990: U5-158; 
Gnoli 1993: 598-599. 

9 G. Gnoli, Zoroaster in history. New York 2000. 

10 Henning 1951: 43. 

1 1 MacKenzie (1988: 85) aptly pointed out that "Henning evidendy accepted Benveniste's conclusions." 



44 Gherardo Gnou 

therefore, Khwarezm was the state governed by King Vistaspa which Cyrus annexed to 
his empire. Henning believed that the comparatively rapid annexation of the eastern 
provinces to the Achaemenian Empire while Cyrus "was chiefly occupied with his 
western provinces, with Media, Babylonia and Asia Minor" can be accounted for only if 
the}* had already been organized, before the advent of Cyrus, "in the form of a state or a 
number of states. Otherwise, if nomad tribes merely had roamed these vast areas, each 
independent of the next and each hostile to all others, even the great Cyrus could not 
have accomplished their organisation in the brief years he could devote to the East. That 
would have been a task needing centuries rather than generations ...". 12 

The identification of the state governed by "Vistaspa as Khwarezm would thus seem to 
align Henxing's opinion with that of Bexveniste, who had identified Airyana Vaejah 
as Khwarezm. of which he had naturally been aware for some time. 1 " However, matters 
are even more complex. For Hexxing the borders of this state were not the historical 
ones of Khwarezm. as the latter would have been centered in the Harirud valley, and its 
continuation, the present-day Tejen. It would have been a kind of Greater Khwarezm 
extending further south than the Khwarezm of later times. 14 Indeed, accepting the keen- 
sighted analysis made by Maricxart of the famous passage in Herodotus on the river 
Akes, ' in comparison with a piece of information contained in a fragment of Hecataeus 
in Athenaeus,""' according to which the Khwarezmians were to be found east of the 
Parthians, 1 Henning agreed with the idea that the Khwarezmians in the old days 
possessed mat territory and "exercised some measure of suzerainty over the Hyrcanians- 
the Parthians. the Sarangians of Seistan, and the Thamanaeans of Arachosia. Both Man* 
and Herat were then occupied by the Khwarezmians". i& He concluded that "VTe can 
thus be fairly certain that there was a state in eastern Iran which centred around Man* 
and Herat and co-existed with the Median Empire: which was led by the Khwarezmians 
and abolished by Cyrus, who deprived them of their southern provinces, whereupon they 
gradually retired to their northern possessions along the River Oxus". 1 

A considerable difference thus exists between Henning's position and that of 
Bexveniste. MacKenzie did not fail to compare these conclusions, which Henning 



"2 Henning 1951:42. 

13 Q. W. B. Henning. "Neuc Materiaiien zur Geschichte des Manichaismus", p. 5 note 6 in: Zatsairin 
der Deutscnen Morgenlandischen Gesciischafz, 90 (1936;. 1—18. 

1 4 Henning 1 95 1 : 42 f. 

15 Herodotus III, 1 17, and cf. J. Maric*"*art, Wehrot und Arang. Untersuchungen zur mythischen und 
geschichtlichen Landeskunde van Ostiran. ed. H. H. Schaeder. Leiden 1938, 8ff. See also Gnou 1980: 
97 note 3 1 and 239 for further bibliographical references, to which we must add H. Humbach, "A 
Western approach to Zarathushtra" (= Journal of the IL R. Carruz Oriental Institute, 51), Bombay 1954. 
23 ff.). 

16 Hecataeus II, 70,B (fragment 292); cf. F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, IA, Berlin 
1923,38). 

17 On this topic see W.W. Tarn, The Greeks in Bactria and India, Cambridge 1951 2 , pp. 478 ff. in die 
first edition (Henning: 42 note 2), and I.V. P'jankov, "Khorasmii Gekateja Milctskogo", Vesmik 
Drevnej Istorii 1972/2, 3-21. 

18 Henning 1951:42. 

19 Henning 1951: 42 £ 



Further Notes on Avestan geography 45 

asserted in 1949, with what Henning himself had claimed seven years earlier, 20 referring 
also to G. Morgenstierne, 21 namely that "the home of the authors of the Avesta" was 
"the region from the Himun lake in the South to the oasis of Merv in the North and to 
Balkh, the ancient Bactra, in the North-East". 22 Nor did he fail to point out the obvious 
contradiction inherent in identifying the Airyana Vaejah now with the Khwarezm 
proper, the "lowland Khwarezm", 3 now with die Greater Khwarezm, which he ascribed 
to Henning himself. He actually wrote that "In other words, the provinces Herat and 
Marv, which Benveniste had tacidy rearranged in one of his lists to make a series 
progressing towards Airyansm Vagfo, became for Henning the heardands of a state of 
Greater Khwarezm"." In this regard, he considered that M. Mole was correct in the 
criticism he levelled against R. C. Zaehner, 2 ' who shared Henning's thesis: "Meme en 
nous placant dans une perspective historicisante, 1'idee ne nous parait pas pouvoir erre 
retenue. Dans la mesure oil Aryanam vaijah — pays mvthique, pavs de la religion — peut 
etre idenrifie a la Choresmie, il ne peut s'agir que de la Choresmie propremenr dite, e'est- 
a-dire du delta de l'Oxus. Dans la liste du premier chapitre du Videvdat, Ar-;anam vaijah 
est situe au nord de la Sogdiane et de la Margiane; il ne peut, en consequence, englober 
le premier"." 

Furthermore, I too had emphasized the apparent contradiction in ■ Henning 's thesis, 
and referred also to the cited observation by M. Mole. 27 And MacKenzie. in actual fact, 
did not dwell only on the true or alleged contradictions of the others, such as the one 
allegedly committed by I. Gershevttch who. although following Henning completely, 
in his commentary on Yah 10.l4" s "passed over in complete silence the fact that 
"Haraivian Margu', as he translated the words [mourum hdroyum], is listed separatelv 
from Khwarezm"\ but also his own, when in an article published five vears earlier 
(although written in about 1970) he had "uncritically accepted Henning's hypothesis". 29 
However, on careful consideration, I now think that it must be acknowledged that any 
such contradiction is most unlikely to have escaped Henning's attention. More 
probably, perhaps he thought that the .Airyana Vaejah of Widevdad I reflected a more 
recent historical situation than that of the era of Zoroaster, Vistaspa and Cvrus; and 



20 Mackenzie 1988: 86. 

21 G. Morgenstierne, Report on a linguistic mission to Afghanistan, Oslo 1926. 28 ff.; and, dirferendv, Id., 
Indo-Iranian frontier languages, Oslo 1973". 24 note 1. 

22 W.B. Henning, ""The disintegration of the Avesric studies'", p. 50 in: Transactions of the Philoio<ncal 
Society 1942, 40-56. 

23 Mackenzie 1988: 92. 

24 Mackenzie 1988: 86. 

25 R. C Zaehner. The dawn and twilight ofZoroastrizrJsm, London 196 1 , 73. 

26 M. Mole, "Une hisroire du mazdeisme esr-elle possible? Notes et remarques en marse d'un ouvrage 
recent", p. 62 f. in: Revue de THiitoire da Religions. 162, 1962. 45-67. That in the list of countries in 
chapter one of the WiaeiudM the Airyana Vaejah lies north of Sogdiana and Margiana is his own idea; 
the fact remains however that it is distinct from both Margiana and Areia, that is, from .\ Ian- and Herat. 

27 Gnou 1967: 94 f.; 1980: 90 note 169. 

28 I. Gershevitch. The Avestan hymn to Mithra, Cambridge 1959, 172 fF. 

29 D. N. MacKenzie, "Khwarezmian language and literature", p. 1249 in: The Cambridge History of Iran, 
111, 1983. 1244-1249. 



46 Gherardo Gnou 

Gershevttch probably thought the same. 30 This is therefore not the weakness in 
Henning's thesis, but something else: the identification of the Airvana Vaejah with a 
geographic, historical and political entity. In other words, for various reasons, such as 
that of the weakness of the argument based on the ChoramnioilChdromnaioU 
Choramnaioi of Ctesias, I no longer think that Henning was wrong so much when he 
claimed that the dominions of Kavi Vistaspa were possibiy centered between Marv and 
Herat as when he thought that Airvana Vaejah, identified with a Greater Khwarezm, 
should be located there. 

In replying to Prof. MacKenzie, I endeavoured to clarify those points in Henning's 
thesis that, in my opinion, could not be shared. I summarized them as follows: a) the 
Airvana Vaejah is a mythical concept rather than a geographical one; b) the Avesta and 
Zoroastrian tradition do not identify Airvana Vaejah with Khwarezm, whatever meaning 
is given. And the second point should not be considered irrelevant as the fact that the 
concept of Airyana Vaejah was a mythical one does not exclude the fact that it might 
have been located in a definite geographic entity. And indeed this is the conclusion at 
which I gradually arrived * and that I think worth summarizing: the idea of Airyana 
Vaejah was originally simply the Zoroastrian version, elaborated bv the Zarathustric 
priests, of the Indo-Iranian conception of a sacred privileged space in which the World- 
mountain"" rises in the centre of the world, at the centre of the central karsvar-, the 
X'aniraBa."^ It was subsequently located in the geographic horizon of the arya tribes, 
between the norm and east zones, to the west and south of the great mountain chains of 
Afghanistan."" Such a phenomenon should not be considered surprising: during the 
Mazdaism phase which, together with I. Gershevttch, we mav define as 'Zarath- 
ustric', historical elements were superimposed on a body of mvths, because "it was 
common among the Indo-Iranians to identify concepts or features of traditional 
cosmography — mountains, lakes, rivers, etc. — with their concrete historical and 
geographic situation as they migrated and settled in various places"/ 

30 It should be bom; in mind that Henning proved that one of the two systems of measurement used in 
the Widewdddz^a. Nerangestan is the Greco-Roman system: W". B. HENNrNG. ""An astronomical chapter 
of the Bundahishr.", p. 235 in: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1942, 229-24S. Cf. I. Gershevttck : 
"Old Iranian iitcrature", p. 27 in: Iranistik - Literatur. Handbuch der Orientaiisak, 1 Abt., 4 Bd., 2. 
Abschn., Lief. i. Leiden - Koln 1968, 1-30. However, on this topic sec also Gnoli 1989: 62 f. 

31 For relevant evidence in Photius, Diodorus Siculus and Stephanus Byzanrius see Gnou 1975: 287 f. 
note 51, and for a critical discussion, Gnoli 1980: 100 ft. See also R. Schmitt, "Die vTiedergabe 
iranischer Namen bei Ktcsias von Knidos im Vergieich zur sonsrjgen griechischen Uberiieferung", pp. 
129-131 in: Prolegomena to toe sources on the history of pre-Islamic Central Asia, ed. J. Harmatta, 
Budapest 1979, 119-133. 

32 Gnou, "Avestar. geography", dr.. p. 47; Id., 1989: 29-70; "ApDunri sull'idea di Iran", cir... pp. 
146-156; Id. 1991: 75f.; Id'., '(Vanhvi) Daitya", dr. 

33 On the "World-mountain in particular: Gnou 1987: 47; 1989: 47-52; 1990: 147-150; 1991: 76; 1993: 
599. 

34 On the Airvana Vaejah ar the centre of the karsvar- X"anira6a: Gnou 1989: 48; 1990: 154; 1991: 76. 

35 Cf. Gnou 1987: 46 f.; 1989: 69. 

36 Seel. Gershevttch, "Zoroaster's own contribution", p. 32 in: Journal ofNear Eastern Studies, 25, 1964, 
12-38, and cf. Gnou 1989: 35£ 

37 Gnou 1 987: 44. See also M. Boyce, "A history of Zoroastrianism", Handbuch der Orienudistik 1 . Abu, 
8. Bd., 1. Abschn., Lief. 2, Heft 2a, Leiden - Koln 1975, vol. I, 143; Gnou 1989: 51 f. 



Further Notes on Avestan geography 47 

As early as 1985, moreover, I had attempted to clarify several facts: a) the long winter 
climate of the Airyana Vaqah points rather to the mountainous zones of central 
Afghanistan rather than towards Khwarezm; 38 b) the historical environment in which 
Zoroaster lived should be sought in a large area extending from Bactria to ancient 
Drangiana and Arachosia; 39 c) the geographic horizon of the Mihr Yost (Yt. 10.13-14), 
the Farvardin Yost (Yt. 13.125,127,143-144) and the Zamydd Yost (Yt. 19.66-77) is 
highly consistent: from North to South, from Margiana and Sogdiana to Drangiana and 
Arachosia, from the Hindukus to the Hamun-i Hilmand; 40 d) the geographic horizon of 
the first chapter of Wldewdad, more complex than the preceding ones, takes in, perhaps 
together also with Hyrcania, 4 ' most of the eastern territories as far as the Indian world. 

In any case, in the light of what has been pointed out so far, the idea of Airyana 
Vaejah — originally airyaram vaejo var/huya daityaya, as E. Benveniste 4 righdy pointed 
our — is the result of the zoroastrianization of a traditional cosmographic conception of 
the centre of the world and of the 'World-mountain, in order to locate there Zoroaster, 
his protector Kavi Vistaspa, the law {data-) promulgated by him, at the same time 
vidaeva- and zaradustri-, the Summit of the Daitl (Cagad i Dditi), the Hukairya of the 
Avesta, the Good Daitya {Vaijuhi Daitya, in Pahlavi Weh Dam), the river of the religious 
law on the banks of which Zoroaster had been enlightened. 44 Nor should it be 
overlooked that the latter, as far as we know, had not repudiated traditional 
cosmography. 45 The great Indo-Iranian mythological complex linked to the country- at 
the centre of the earth — in Iran the X v anira6a and the Peak of Hara; 4D in India the 
Jambudvlpa and Mount Mem 47 — , where Iranian tradition located the first animal 
couple, Goya Man tan (in Pahlavi Gayomard) and Gav aevo data (in Pahlavi Gaw i ek- 
ddd), as well as Yima with its var-, is thus enriched with new mythical-legendary 
elements specific to Zoroastrianism. 48 A similar phenomenon occurred also in 
Manichaeism which, as shown in the Book of the Giants, drew upon both Buddhist and 
Zoroastrian tradition, identifying the Aryan-vaizan {'ry'nwyjn) with the region King at 
the foot of Mount Sumeru (smyryny), over which Wistasp reigned. 49 Tne fact that 
Buddhist tradition itself at Khotan displays a similar mixture of Iranian and Indian 
elements in the identification of Mount Sumeru with the Peak of Hara, is instead a 



38 Gnou 1985: 18. 

39 Gnou 1985: 19 f. 

40 Gnou 1985: 23 f. 

41 That Xnanta could not be identified as Hyrcania (Gnou 19S0: 39-42) is a position that I subsequently- 
changed (Gnou 1985: 29; 1989: 55). 

42 Gnou 1985: 29 f. 

43 Benveniste 1933-1935: 267 f. 

44 Gnou 1989: 40, 46; 1993: 598. 

45 As shown by the passage Y. 32.3. C£ M. Boyce 1975: 134. 

46 Boyce 1975: 134 f. 

47 W. Kjrfel, Die Kosmographic der Inder nach dm Quelien dirgestcllt, Bonn- Leipzig 1920. 121 f. 

48 Gnou 1987: 47; 1989: 40 ff.; 1990: 1*8 S. 

49 Henning, "The Book of the Giants", p.6S i. in: Bulletin of the School of 'Oriental and African Smdies. 1 1, 
1943, 52-74. 



48 Gherardo Gnoli 

hypothesis advanced by H.W. Bailey 50 and recendy rejected by the late Prof. R.E. 
Emmerick. 31 

Rather than the "traditional home", 52 the "ancient home" 33 of the Iranians, rather 
than the "Urheimat des Awestavolkes", 54 the "Urland" of the Indo-Iranians, 55 the 
"Wiege aller iranischen Arier",* 3 the "berceau des Iraniens", 57 the Airyana Vaejah is the 
country of the religion par excellence. It is no coincidence that both H.S. Nyberg 58 and 
%. B. Hexning. for example, investigated the matter in order to identify the homeland 
of Zoroaster rather than that of the Iranians or Aryans. As I pointed out in this 
connection as long as fifteen years ago, "In reality, nothing enrides us to define Airyana 
Vaejah as the original homeland, whether it be mythical or historical, of the Avestan 
Airyas, less so of all the Iranians, and even less of the Indo-Iranians. One significant fact 
is the absence of such a concept amongst the Indo-Aryans". 60 Unacceptable in any case 
is the idea of A Christensen that the expression airyarmn vaejo, even in its 
abbreviated form lacking the determinant varjhuya daixyaycL had the same value as the 
airyo.sayarum of the Mihr Yasr: " If anything vispim (...) airyd.sayansm, has the same 
value as the expression airya daiijhdvo of the so-called recent Avesta: it represents a 
designation of the set otarya " lands. Airyana Vaejah, on the other hand, refers to a pan 
of them, to the first of the sixteen Iranian mahaianapada-.'* 

To come back to the contribution made by Prof. MacKenzie to solving the 
problems of the historical geography of the Avesta and Ancient Iran, I think that the 
final conclusion can be accepted, that is, that the " Avestan' people", or "at least some of 
them'', migrated to Khwarezm from a more southern region that, for him, as for 
Hennikg. was "an area to the north of Sisran and the Kindukush". 6 '' In our view, this 

50 H.W. Bailey, Khotanese Texts T\\ Cambridge !96l, i2: Dictionary or 'Khotan Saks. Cambridge 19?9. 
467; J/?.' Culture of the Sakas in Ancient Iranian Khotan. New York 19S2. 48. Cz. Boyce 1975: 134; 
Ead., "Alborz in myth and legend", p. 81 1 in: EIr. I, iasc. 8, 19S5, SI 1-813: Gvoli 1987- 47- Id 
1989: 47. 

51 R.E. Emmerick, "Mount AJborz in Khotanese?", p. 20 in: Tafazzoll Memorial Volume, ed. A. A. 
Sadeghi, Tehran 200 1 , 1 9-20. kindly indicated to me bv M. Maggi. 

52 Boyce 1975: 2~5. 

53 R.N. Frye, The History of Ancient Iran, Miinchcn 1984,61. 

5^ W. Spiegel, Ostiranische Kuitur im Altertum, Eriangen 1882, 31. 

55 F. Spiegel, Die arische Periode und ihre Zustande, Leipzig 1887, 123. 

56 J. V. Prasek, Geschichte der Metier und Perser bis zur makedonischer. Eroberung, I, Gotha 1 906, 29. 

57 Benveniste 1933-1935, 265. 

58 H. S. Nyberg, Die Religionen des alten Iran, German transi. by H. H. Schaeder, Leipzig 1 938, 326 f. 

59 Henning 1951:43. Cf. Gershevitch 1959: 14 S. 

60 Gnou 1989: 50 f.; Id. 1990: 146. 

61 A. Christensen, Le premier chapitre du Vendidad a I'histoire primitive des tribus iraniennes, Kabenhavn 
1943, 74. 

62 Yc 10.13 Cf. Gershevitch 1959: 78-79, and Gnou, u Airv6.savana*\ Rivista dtvliStudi Orientals 40 
1966, 67-75; Id. 1967: 84 £; Id. 1980: 86 f.; Id. 1985: 21.' 

63 Gnou 1989: 37, 70. 

64 For this comparison: Gnou 1985: 25, 44 f.; Id. 1987:45; Id. 1990: 151; cf. G. Fussman, "Les 
populations de 1'Inde ancienne, d'apres les tcxtes", p. 58 1 in: Amataire du College de France 1987-1988: 
resume des cours a travaux, Paris 1988, 579-587. 

65 Mackenzie 1988: 92. 



Further Notes on Avestan geography 49 

could instead be extended to the entire area of the airyo^aycaam or of the airya daiijhavo, 
or of the 'Apiavrt of the Greeks, also to the South of the "central Afghan highlands" in 
which M. Witzel situates the "home of the Aryans" in a highly stimulating article that, 
although not taking into consideration the development of our research since 1980, 
deserves the maximum of attention. 67 

This conclusion is of considerable import. It actually confirms an important part of 
Henning's thesis concerning the homeland of Zoroaster. Nor must it be overlooked that 
this was moreover die focal point of Henning's research, not that of the identification of 
the Airyana Vaejah as such. The problem of the Airyana Vaejah was, for Henning, 
simply related to that of the historical space of Zoroaster and of Kavi Vistaspa. However, 
although while making a distinction between the two problems, freeing that of the 
homeland of Zoroaster and Kavi Vistaspa from the fateful confusion with that of the 
Airyana Vaejah, we can take a step forward and hypothetically accept that the lands over 
which Vistaspa, the last of the Kayanids, had reigned until the time of Otus' eastern 
conquests, were situated east of the Parthians. However, this is accompanied bv the 
necessary proviso that they might have extended over the entire horizon mentioned in 
Herodotus' famous passage on the river Akes, from Marv and Herat as far as Dran°iana 
and Arachosia, where the Sarangai and the Thamanaioi must have dwelled, ruled bv the 
dynasty to which Vistaspa belonged, according to Gershevttch's hypothesis: "One 
particular family ofkavi-s, whose home was in Slstan. rose to temporal power and came 
to rule over the Chorasmian state or part of it; this family used the orofessional 
description kavi as personal dynastic surname".'"'* Of course, this is mere hvpothesis and 
a number of problems remain, although not enough in any case to rule it out completely. 
The first of these, which must be further investigated, is certainly that of the relationship 
between such a political situation and Bactria. It is no coincidence that Prof. MacKenzie 
dragged in also the latter, no doubt mindful, among other things, of the stance adopted 
by Henning in his article on the disintegration of Avestic studies: from lake Hamun to 
the South to the oases of Marv to the North and of Balkh to the North-East." And there 
is no doubt that, however hypothetical, a reconstruction of this nature further justifies 
the assertion made by Prof. MacKenzie who saw "practically nothing which separates 
Gnoli geographically from Henning, except the latter's use of the name Khwarezm for 
other areas".' 



66 GNOii.*\\picrri\.?ost^adAirydj£\ana~.Rivutaa^Sn^Oriai&li,40, 1966, 329-334; Id. 1967: 
81-97; Id. 1980: 140-142; Id. 1985: 42-44. 68; Id. 1990: 157f. 

67 I intend to dedicate a detailed but wide-ranging comment to this article elsewhere. 

68 Gershemtch 1959: 185. On the links between the •Kauui-Fursten' dynasty and the Hiimand and 
Kaosaoya region (Hamun-i Hilmand) see also A. Hintze. Der Zamyad-Yast, VTiesbadeh 1994 "> 1 

69 Mackenzie 1988: 92. 

"0 See above and the quotation of the passage in note 22. 
71 Mackenzie 1988:87. 



50 Gherardo Gnoli 

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